The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names



by Diana Kennedy


 This article was originally published in the December 2008 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

Following on from the last Soul Search a few more clippings I found from the Ipswich Journal. Some have no connection with Sewell but I include them here as I found them interesting.


The first was a lucky escape for one Sewell from the 15th May 1773:


On Monday last Thomas Sewell and Warren Hurrel were stubbing (digging) gravel in a pit at Earl’s Colne in Essex when the side of the pit fell in on them burying them in the gravel. Immediately a search was made and on digging them out Hurrel was found crushed to death and Sewell was very much bruised.


The gentleman Highway man seems to belong to television, and while it would have been terrifying for those held up the following clip from August 7th 1773 shows that some highway men did have a heart:


On Friday evening last as two ladies and a gentleman were coming by post chaise from Ingatestone to Chelmsford, they were attacked by a highway man within a ¼ a mile of Chelmsford. The ladies being much frightened could not get down the window of the chaise, the highway man seeing the confusion opened the door and entreated them not to be intimidated for he would not hurt them, neither rob them, he was apprehensive if the gentleman had enough to supply his wants. The gentleman gave him 10 guineas and told him it was all he had and had nothing to pay for the chaise which he said cost him 1 ½ guineas, he returned that amount but asked for his watch. The gentleman pleaded hard, it being a family watch, the highway man no further requested it as he had sufficient to supply his necessities.


Not all were as lucky when attacked on the highway as the following from November 26th 1774 shows, when smugglers attacked two excise officers.


On Tuesday, a large seizure of 25 ½ ankers of Geneva was made at Thorington in Suffolk by Mr Bell the supervisor and Mr Walker the excise officer which they were conveying in a cart to Wangford when a party of smugglers fell upon them with bludgeons in a barbarous manner, they rescued the said goods and carried them away which was 12 lbs of green tea, 4 gallons of Geneva which the officers had seized at Blyburgh, Suffolk the same day.

An anker or anchor was about 8 gallons and Geneva was a gin made from juniper berries.


Spectator fighting either man to man or cockfighting was an everyday occurrence and appeared to be very popular.


In April 16th 1774 On Wednesday afternoon at Stratford by Dedham a very severe battle was fought between Luke Williams a nail maker of Mistley and Joseph Clarke a butcher from Hadleigh, for 18 guineas they fought for 1hour 16 minutes, it was doubtful for the greater part of the time who would gain victory but it ended in favour of Williams, there was upwards of 2,000 spectators.


And cock fighting was freely advertised in 1774 on 30th April:


A Main of cocks will be fought at William Cranes at Rivenhall End cockpit between Suffolk and Essex for considerable sums on May 16th. Feeders are from London.


A rather tamer pastime was fairs and meetings that played an important part in the lives of villagers and were taken very seriously.  On Saturday August 13th 1808 the Thetford Lamb Fair was announced.  Thetford Lamb Fair will be held as usual on the First of September. By order of the Chairman of the Committee, Dan Sewell, secretary. The Hurdles will be delivered on the 31st August.


Most villages had associations for various reasons and advertised their annual meetings.  Every week  there seemed to be a meeting advertised in the Suffolk Journal and on May 2nd 1801 it was announced that the Annual meeting of Friston Association for prosecuting Horse stealers, etc. Chequers Friston on Monday 4th to settle Treasurers accounts where a dinner will be provided at two o’clock. The fund being nearly exhausted, a full attendance of the members, and others desirous of joining, the said Association is requested. James Sewell for Friston and Thomas Sewell for Sibton.


Dinner was also included for the Eye Association for prosecuting persons guilty of Felony, etc. The Annual Meeting of this Association, will be held on Wednesday the 1st day of April 9 (instead of the Tuesday next before the Easter Quarter Sessions, as directed by the articles) at the White Lion, in Eye, to settle the Year’s Accounts, when it is requested the members will attend at One o’clock, for that purpose, or to pay their arrears of forfeits, or they will be excluded the benefit of the said Society. Dinner at Two o’clock. Mary Sewell of Eye.


And finally the Suffolk Agricultural Association offered £600 worth of prizes, a considerable sum for 1860. The Annual Exhibition was to be held at Framlingham on the 4th of July. They modestly advertised as the Best show of agricultural horses in the world. Dinner was at 4pm.   n



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